June 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It: “Lisa’s Sax”

In which we learn the origin of Lisa's saxophone.

Hey, we haven’t had a flashback episode in a while.  It’s about the origin of Lisa’s saxophone.

You know what else we haven’t seen in a  while?  Lisa playing her sax outside the opening credits!

What can we say about any episode that opens with Homer and Marge recreating the opening credits of All in the Family?  Marge sings at least as well as Edith Bunker.  And going back to that song will allow Apu to be in the Simpson house for, as he himself sings, no reason.

But once we step away from the piano, we see it’s another slow day at the Simpson house.  Bart and Homer are trying to watch a made-for-TV movie about the life of Krusty the clown, as played by Fyvush Finkel.  Now there’s a name autocorrect hates.  Just as the movie is getting to Krusty’s disastrous marriage to Mia Farrow, Lisa starts practicing her saxophone, and she needs to.  She also questions Homer’s threats as making no sense.  She isn’t wrong.  Bart goes to intervene and Lisa’s sax ends up flying out the window where it lands in the street.  There, it is run over by car, then a truck, then stomped on by Nelson (“Ha ha!”), then trips a man on a tricycle.

Of course Lisa is upset.  She doesn’t even remember when she got her sax.  So, Homer goes to tell her the story.  As with many Lisa stories, it starts off being about Bart.  Bart was off for his first day of school, and things aren’t going well.  Homer wants to impart the same advice Grampa gave him, but Grampa advised young Homer to get into a car with any interested stranger.  Lousy traumatic childhood…

As it is, Bart finds kindergarten scary.  Principal Skinner is intimidating, and while we see the first of the school nurse, and hear the last from Lunchlady Doris for a while (due to the death of Doris Grau), plus see a young Jimbo in a bunny shirt, Bart is already being ground down by the world’s most discouraging kindergarten teacher.

What does all this have to do with Lisa?  She’d like to know, and Homer keeps getting distracted.  Homer gets that way a lot.  He remembers when he was a kid and wrapped his little red wagon around a tree because his father gave him beer, something he swore he would never touch again as he takes a drink in the present, then there was a Nobel Prize for kickboxing, and even Patty and Selma melting in the heat.

But Bart’s drawing scary sad stuff, so a quick chat with the school psychiatrist yields Marge and Homer…absolutely nothing to help Bart.  But Lisa at the age of three already knows jigsaw puzzles and math.  She’s gifted!

Which leads to the tragic decision made by Homer because he’s a good father.  He needs an air conditioner, and stealing one from Ned Flanders doesn’t help.  Reciting the Bible doesn’t either since maybe he without sin can cast the first stone, but that means Rod or Tod can peg Homer with a rock.  And while out getting the air conditioner, Lisa sees a music shop, and a musical instrument can help encourage a child’s gift, and she wants a sax.  Homer doesn’t get the air conditioner.

And that happens again in the present since he has to spend the air conditioner fund again to get a replacement sax.  There’s a lesson  here.

A scary one, since it appears it took Homer five years to save $200.